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Careers in museums and government agencies

by Ed Hagen last modified Jun 15, 2009 12:53 PM

Web resources for federal jobs

  • - Nationwide government job listings. For the Smithsonian, click on "current job openings", then "agency search", and scroll to Smithsonian.
  • - alternate site for government job listings.
  • - state and local job listings.

Web resources for museum jobs

Smithsonian resources

For job announcements and/or a job application, call the Smithsonian Office of Human Resources 24 hour jobline, 202/287-3102, and request an instant FAX or snail mailed materials by job announcement number, or listen to a listing of positions open. However, not all open positions are always mentioned.


Internships - paid and unpaid, go to or call 202-287-3271.

Research grants, from 3 to 10 weeks @$75/day, other programs provide a stipend for up to 2 years. Collections Research Grants are awarded based on the clarity and relevance of the hypotheses being tested and their relationships to what parts of the collection will be studied. Call the Office of Fellowships and Grants for a brochure: 202-287-3271.


Co-Op programs: Work 16-20 hours /week or full time at the Smithsonian for a semester. Afterwards, you can be hired by any federal agency without competition. You may also be able to earn credit hours through your school. Call Tom Lawrence 202-287-2432.

You can also be a volunteer at the Smithsonian, and assist curators or staff in research projects. Call 202-287-2432.


Finally, repatriation has NOT stopped research on Native American remains. There are plenty of Native American skeletal materials available for research. Call David Hunt 202-786-2501. Only research using destructive analysis is closely controlled and must be proposed to the anthropology sampling committee.

When applying for government jobs

List the qualification statements and answer them simply and directly, one by one. Your answers will likely not be read by anthropologists or scientists the first time, but by Human Resources personnel. If the advertised position has a grade level based on experience (e.g. a GS-7 or GS-9), be sure to specify for which level you are applying.


Qualification examples


Ability to communicate in writing:

Mention publications, especially if they are in refereed journals, departmental memos, important departmental agreements, reports, term papers, proposals, guidelines, student publications, web pages, participation in web discussion groups, etc.


Ability to communicate orally:

Be sure to mention presentations at professional meetings or in class, meetings conducted, regular meetings participated in, tours, committee membership, discussion sessions, tutoring, outreach lectures to a lay audience, any negotiations, volunteering to help with registration at AAPA meetings, and any work in which you interacted with the public or had to communicate with coworkers.


Ability to supervise employees:

Include ANY supervisory experience, even if old and non-anthropological, overseeing volunteers or interns, directing work-study personnel, managing projects or working with others on a joint project, etc.


Experience using archival resources:

Include any research using published or unpublished sources, especially involving interlibrary loan, public archives, or unusual sources for data, and use of any museum documentation, interviews, maps, multimedia, or computer programs.

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